17 picked 'Nipah' virus from 1st victim: Report

A detailed study by the Kerala government in the recent outbreak of 'Nipah' virus has suggested that 17 of the 19 infected people might have contracted the deadly virus from the first victim, 26-year-old Mohammed Sabith.

Sabith, who died on May 5, was among the 17 people who lost their lives after they contracted the virus.

Two people had recovered.

As per available records, it has been found that Sabith contracted the 'Nipah' virus from fruit bats and 17 others -- including three from his family i.e. father, younger brother and a paternal aunt -- got infected from him, government sources said.

Besides, the virus from him is also suspected to have infected four other people at the Peramabra Taluk Hospital, Kohzikode, where he was first brought, the sources in the state surveillance department of the Kerala Health Services said, adding that 10 others in the Kozhikode medical college hospital, where he was taken for a CT scan in the radiology department, also picked the virus from him.

One patient was infected by another man at the Perambra hospital, they said.

It is suspected that Sabith, an electrician, had contracted the virus from fruit bats, however, it is not clear the circumstances under which he got infected. Sabith had returned from the gulf eight months before he died.

Sabith first took treatment as an 'out patient' at the Perambra hospital for high fever and body pain on May 2.

On May 3, he was admitted at the hospital, and it is suspected that four people on night duty including sister Lini Puthussery, who attended to him, picked the virus from him.

As his condition worsened on May 4, Sabith was shifted to the Medical College hospital for a CT scan, where he died on May 5.

Ten people got infected at the medical college on the single day he was there, the sources said.

Though Sabith's blood samples were not tested for Nipah, as per records, it has been concluded that he had contracted 'Nipah' virus, the sources said.